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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2008, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Everyone help's truly needed 4 this post...WARNING-VERY LONG

Hi everyone~
In my last post in the health and nutrition section of this forum I stated that I had a very unusual problem with ONE of my cats. I wanted everyone here's help/opinion on this problem and that a very large imagination would definitely be needed----well here goes.
The problem is w/ KJ(breed=1/3 Maine Coon) I think by telling you all his breed it could possibly help. I had KJ checked out to see what his breed is and he IS 1/3 Maine Coon but we couldn't determine what the other 2/3 were. Anyway, IMHO KJ has a very unusual behavioral issue when anyone thinks of a "domesticated "cat. KJ is OBSESSED with the outdoors. KJ seems to only want to go outside when I'm with him but HATES wearing his harness and leash which is the ONLY way I will let him out without being enclosed. His obsession has started to cause MASSIVE problems here and I REFUSE to ever let him go!!!! Doing so would be like a mother that leaves her disabled child just because she may or may not be able to accept her child's disability. NEVER!!!! If I don't take KJ outside for a walk EVERY day his behavior becomes that of your typical feral cat--MEAN, VIOLENT, NOT PPL OR OTHER CAT FRIENDLY(growling, hissing and snapping). This behavior started to esculate when I lost my other cat--Drago--(a purebred Maine Coon)in a car accident Oct. 2006. Let me describe that situation to you all too since that could also be the reason--I work at home due to me having 8 cerebral hemorrhages that caused me to need 2 brain surgeries. I now have permanent brain damage. Therefore, my cats are get their TLC 16 hours/day(the other 8 I sleep---LOL) One day I noticed Drago breathing VERY heavily yet he was lying down and sleeping so I thought it was suspicious. I counted his up movements on his side like the internet vet suggested and the count was over 40 beats in 60 seconds. I stopped counting when I hit 40 due to tears out of my eyes. The "safe" beat of a cat's heart and lungs is said to be 20. Anything over that(especially if over 25) is cause for IMMEDIATE veterinary care. It shows respiratory failure so I called the hospital. The doc told me that he wanted to see Drago instantly and to get right over after I told him also how many up movements I counted on Drago. I panicked and got into my KJ(Jeep Liberty) and failed to think first. I sharply went around the curb and my Jeep went head on into my neighbor's brick house. Luckily my Jeep rolled over 2 full times and landed on the driver's side. I survived with large bruising internally and externally but Drago got loose and my neighbors found his collar in the bushes at the accident. He was also micro chipped. He never returned. I sat outside until 1 am waiting for him for 10 nights in a row. I looked (religiously) in the woods, put out signs, contacted vet clinics, contacted all the shelters within a 2 mile radius but still no Drago. I even asked strangers to look out for him. Drago and KJ were best buds for the 4 mths I had Drago. My 8.5 yr. old Devon Rex cat got tortured by Drago on a daily basis so the loss of Drago had little to no affect on him. KJ just saw me put Drago in the carrier and come home that night with an empty carrier. He saw my extreme bruises that night but probably didn't put the two together. A week later my husband bought me Reese(a purebred Norwegian Forest Cat) that he saw at the humane society shelter. I couldn't resist. Reese is soooo beautiful and LOVES any human to extreme. Reese will even stick his butt in your face with his tail up inviting you to sniff him/make friends. To end this post I just wanna say that after 8 mths of looking for Drago I had to end the search due to my medical reasons. KJ now attacks Reese CONSTANTLY and continues to "yell" at me that he wants to go out for a walk. Medically, taking him out for a walk in the cold (I live in MD) is truly hurting me. I bought him 3 KittyWalk systems so to romp around in and made them so that the length was 14 ft. long and the width was 1.5 ft. wide. I was hoping that by doing this (and making it "safe" for him to go outside more freely without a leash and me) would help. KJ would then still be able to exercise, get the full smell of the true outside air and do this all without feeling "directed". THAT didn't really work either. I cannot connect the KittyWalks to my glass screen door on my patio so he still can't "freely" go outside on his own. If ANYONE has ANY ideas, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to possibly use them. I'm out of ideas myself on how to better the situation. I've used Vanilla extract to stop KJ's swatting but that hasn't worked, I don't know if Feliway(sp) would work because the other 3 cats LOVE each other and constantly play around. I'd be scared that Feliway could calm THEM down too and I don't really want that. HELP ME IF YOU CAN PLEASE, I BEG YOU!!!!!!!!

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2008, 06:07 PM
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Kimberly - First off, I'm sorry to hear about Drago. My heart goes out to you and your family. It was such a tragic loss.

As far as KJ goes, I only have a few solutions. Can you build a big pen or enclosure in the back yard that you can put him in a couple hours of the day so he can get his outdoor fix there?

Or, you could cut him off from going outside, completly. Sounds darastic since it sounds like he really really really wants out everyday. But, I have a cat who I used to let out side with me and eventually he howled at the door everyday because he wasn't outside so he knew what he was missing. I finally cut him off from outside all together. I think he eventually "forgot" about the outdoors and he does wine as much to get out.

Like KJ does to Reese, my cat mentioned above does the same to my other cat. Attacks for no reason and gets really violent. I don't know if medicine is the answer for you but I now have mine on muscle relaxers twice daily....he's really calmed down and the attacks are further apart...mainly because he sleeps a lot more now rather than attacking...

Keep us updated...I'm sure other members here might have some better advice!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2008, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Heather for your caring words regarding Drago. Even when the ambulance came and I was in the ER unable to comfortably move I ONLY screamed Drago's name outloud wondering what happened to HIM. I didn't really care, at that time, about myself because I was in "safe" hands already. NOT HIM THOUGH....

Unfortunately my backyard is not only not big enough to build a wide enclosure(I already have down(staked into the ground) 3 KittyWalks at 14 ft. long) but the HOA would definitely not allow it. I even had to get special permission from my internal and neurological doctors to have my medically made/necessary hot tub and it's huge enclosure(almost makes it looks like another building) put back there. Thanks anyway though. Also, I truly have tried to end going outside with him entirely but KJ only becomes worse. He'll get to the point that he stops eating and drinking all together. It's THAT bad. Since I will NOT let that happen, I give in. I've tried one on one play with him in my large almost empty basement using remote controlled cars even and I found that won't help at all. I think he TRULY needs to make friends with the other 3 cats and play which will eventually exhaust him. He's "friends" with the oldest and youngest cat but just not Reese--who is "friends" and plays with EVERYONE making it impossible (in KJ's eyes) to play inside at all-which is what I want.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2008, 10:07 PM
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Wow. I'm sorry for your loss of Drago. That sounds horrific. You've done an exhaustive search. If he could be found, I'm sure you would have found him.

Per KJ and Reese, you might want to re-introduce them. I hate to suggest it because it's a pain in the rear, but it might help them. By separating the two cats for a while, you give them a chance to cool off and all the hurt feelings and aggression to go away. Then introducing them again slowly, gives them a chance to have new positive associations with each other. I'd definately try the Feliway Comfort Zone diffusers. It doesn't make your cats lethargic and should have no negative impact on the happy cats. All it does is release good feeling pheramones into the air which should relieve tension.

The Feliway may also help with KJs need for the outdoors. Per putting in a cat door to allow access to the KittyWalk system, did you say that you had a sliding glass door in that location? They sell cat doors that fit right into the existing opening on one side (allowing you to open the door the rest of the way so that you can get out too), this would allow KJ to go out to the KittyWalk whenever he wanted, that might help.
Sliding glass door, cat door inserts

Patio Panel FAQ

Sounds like he's stressed over losing his friend and gaining an interloper. You might want to consider an anti-anxiety medication, at least for a while to help him deal with these situations. More play (you might want to buy a Da Bird, much better than RC cars) would also help. Is he food oriented? Try hiding food in secret locations so that he has to hunt them down.

...That's about all I've got for ideas.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Kitty's mom~
Excellent advice but we've already looked into installing a sliding glass cat door. Unfortunately my husband doesn't really like the idea of the cat door flap and honestly neither do I. I'd be scared that a burglar could easily get in or worse--one of the cats could get free somehow--even if the KittyWalk was connected. Plus the fact that we have patio steps that butt up against the sliding glass patio door/house makes us wonder how we would even make it so a safety walk could go down the steps then across the patio to where the KittyWalks are. We have already considered building a ramp but then that leaves us with the questions of safety, expense and temperature control. Our finances are slim due to my disability. You've made me rethink checking into the Feliway system a bit further though--thanks. If there are more ideas/advice I WELCOME THEM with open arms....

Good night all~
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Hi again everyone~
Well, I broke down and bought 4 Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers. Cost me an arm and a leg but I found them on sale and got one per 400 sq. ft. on my first floor and then one for the basement(since my 4 cats really don't hang out there) and one for my 120 sq. office upstairs(where they hang out the most). Supposedly the diffuser covers 500-600 sq. ft. per bottle but I figured that if I want to see if it'll really work, DO IT RIGHT/TAKE NO CHANCES NO MATTER THE COST. According to the package I should see results within 3 days and have to continue with it for 30-60(meaning one more EXPENSIVE refill per diffuser) Thanks Kitty'sMom for guiding me into the direction of checking the diffuser out again. Now, time will have to tell. Thanks again everyone~
I'll keep you all updated---I promise.....

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